Residence: Calabasas, California
Date of Performance/Collection:
Primary Language: English
K: Would you like me to tell you about a Persian New Year tradition?
E: Yes, please do.
K: Every Persian New Year everyone jumps over a burning fire. A contained fire of course.
E: Does everyone participate?
K: Older people and young children don’t. But those who aren’t sick and are able bodied all do it.
E: That is so interesting. Do you know where this tradition originated?
K: Early Persians practiced Zoroastrianism, one of the world’s oldest belief systems, and they viewed fire as extremely holy. They began to hop the fire as a cleanse. The fire would wash away all bad luck, evil eyes, and sicknesses by leaving them in the year that was ending.
E: When did you first hear about this tradition?
K: My fathers first told me about this tradition during Persian new year when I was very young. Ever since then I’ve participated every year.
E: What does it mean to you? What sort of value does it hold with you?
A: It means a lot because it’s the main event during Persian New Year’s. This is one of the largest family celebrations of year where extended family and nuclear family are all together. Everyone experiences this together by leaving our non-positive energy in the past.
My informant is a long time friend of mine who is from Dominican and Iranian descent. Every year I’ve known him I’ve seen the annual videos of him and his family members jumping over the fire without having inquired. I reached out to him over the phone and this was what he told me.
Although strange I see this practice as deeply as symbolic. Zoroastrianism was one of the first belief systems and the fact that God has for us conceived so long ago are still prevalent today reflects how truly special it is as both for the Apple ones on sale to leave behind’s transgressions from the past year as well as enter the new year with family.